Ben Southgate

SandyBrown-2291 (1)When I first applied for my placement year I was unsure on the type of thing I wanted to do and also what I wanted to do with my career post-university. However, from what I was told by my uni and past students, doing a year in industry seemed like a good thing to do.

I applied for several companies, unsure of how any of them were better than the others. It soon became apparent to me however, that there seemed to be two main types of employer – the large multi-disciplinary engineering companies and the small consultancy companies. However, when I applied to Sandy Brown and since working here, I have realised that it is not either of these.

From the day I first walked in the door I felt very welcomed and like this was the kind of place I could happily work. There has been expectation for me to achieve certain goals and to get work done, however, I have never felt like I am just another cog in a machine. My colleagues have always been helpful and I’ve learnt so much from so many of them. One thing that I found particularly encouraging is the vast proportion of them that have also been in my position, having done their placement year at Sandy Brown as well. They all understand what it is like to be in my position and know how to help me get the best out of it.

One of the other main benefits of working here is the scale of projects I have been able to work on. Seeing projects in the media or hearing people talking about them and then getting to work on them is just a great feeling that you don’t get at lots of smaller companies. I’d never lived in London before coming for my placement year and being able to go round the city and see projects you’ve worked on gives a real feeling of satisfaction.

Most of my time has been spent in the office, working on a range of different things. From simple calculations to computer modelling, I feel like I’ve had a chance to work on pretty much every area that would be involved in an acoustics career. I have also been able to get out of the office fairly often as well, taking attended measurements, setting up loggers, undertaking sound insulation tests and even going to the occasional meeting. The knowledge I’ve gained through these has also been enhanced by weekly lunchtime talks presented by colleagues that cover a range of practical day to day consultancy issues, as well as audio/acoustic theory on various parts of the job. All these and more have helped me gain so much insight and knowledge into the work involved in the role of acoustic consultancy.

As I look back over my year with Sandy Brown and prepare to head back to university, I realise how insightful this time has been. Originally I was unsure on what career path to take, but this year has helped me make an informed decision on which way to turn. I know I have learnt a tremendous amount this year, much of which just can’t be taught at university. It has also helped to show the real world application of the theory I learnt in the classroom. I would definitely recommend a placement year at Sandy Brown to other prospective students as a company that gets to work on many high profile projects, but also knows how to and helps the students get the best out of their experience.